Video of 12 Nepalese killed in Iraq from 2004

DUBAI Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:02pm IST

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DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iraqi militant group posted a video on the Internet on Monday that appeared to show the 2004 killing of 12 Nepalese men who worked for a contracting firm in Iraq.

Two still images taken in 2004 of the victims matched footage from the video. It was unclear why the video, from an Islamist group called the Army of Ansar al-Sunna, had been posted again on the Internet.

The group did not say the footage was from 2004 in Monday's posting. Iraqi police and U.S. officials in Baghdad said they had no immediate information on a recent kidnapping of Nepalis.

The 12 Nepali hostages who were killed in 2004 had gone to Iraq to work as cooks and cleaners for a Jordanian firm.

In the video, a militant beheaded one of the men with a knife. The rest were shot in the back lying face down in a sandy lot.

At the time of the 2004 killings, large numbers of Nepalis worked as labourers, drivers, guards, cleaners and cooks in Iraq, even though poor Nepal did not allow its nationals to travel or work in there because of security concerns.

The killing of foreign contractors by militants in Iraq has declined, matching overall falls in violence.

(Reporting by Inal Ersan)

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